The various mutations of the term grotesque

 

From the Italian term “grottesca”, which means cave fresco, definition and use of the term grotesque will mute through centuries. In 1532, it defines a “capricious ornaments”, and during the XVIe century it designates a caricatured or fantastic figure. Until those times, the expression is mainly used in the field of painting.

During the year 1636, in his book L’Illusion Comique, the French writer Corneille updates the signification of the word linking it to an idea of comical; “(…) causing laughing by its extravagance”. During the XVIIIe century, the Dictionary of French Academy defines it again under its pictorial aspect, explaining that a grotesque representation has one natural part and the other one chimerical.

The meaning continues to evolve through the decades and starts to figuratively nominate something or someone ridiculous, bizarre or extravagant. Nowadays, the dominant idea around grotesque is the one of extravagance; someone or something that lends to laugh by its incredible and eccentric characteristic, and also its bad taste.

There is embarrassment around the notion of grotesque facing the common desire to define it precisely without succeeding to do so.

It is by essence a hybrid word, its strength is to be constantly renewed, evolving and changing.

 

Hybridization disturbs, because it is creating something new, and very often changes and novelties are chocking.

 

Fashion, Collection, Fashion Show, Presentation

 

This is exactly what Hussein Chalayan did with the famous and so-called burqa collection. It’s a political statement about women’s rights and equality. Conceptually speaking, it is about breaking rules and conductively embracing cultural chaos, it that case we are talking about a very precise cultural background in some countries of the world.

 

 

We can put in comparison this statement about equality with the main characteristic of the carnival phenomenon. During this festivity everybody is put in the same level and everything is basically possible. Mikhaïl Bakhtine defines the term carnavalesque as a temporary inversion of hierarchies and values. He develops the idea of carnival as a strong expression of popular culture in its subversive dimension.

Here, Hussein Chalayan is unveiling the body of women to show orifices. He is revealing the social body, in which the natural should be eliminated, putting in evidence orifices, which are the opening self to the world, the connection between the internal and the external environment. The designer is hiding the face and showing the down part of the body; we recognize characteristics proper to the grotesque, the one of every possibility, inversions, and up side down.

Painting, Carnaval,

 

The grotesque is disturbing, because it’s cultivating contradictions and paradoxes.

 

In that sense it is able to break down the prejudiced and move walls of preconceived. It is interesting to have a different look on this collection considering this way of reaching a form a freedom of the body.

The Italian artist Francesco Albano also worked on the concept of grotesque with his sculpture of melting body. On this piece of work, the first thing we see is the orifice, our natural and animal part. We can interpret this shape as an animal in cage trying to escape, and as a metaphor of someone willing to break out from ones social body.

 

Art, Sculpture, Installation

 

This white and blank space made of neutrality reminds a dream, a fantasy in which everything is possible and where you can build your own world. A world that allows to invent a new reality made of paradoxes and hybridizations. A grotesque universe defined by Bakhtine as the unfinished metamorphose of death and birth, growth and becoming, always on the border between reality and imaginary.

Grotesque is forcing Art to integrate its own contradictions. It’s an anti-aesthetic.

Nacho Libre food truck, a dream came true !

 

If you pass to Biarritz or Saint-Jean de Luz, you can’t miss one stop, Nacho Libre food truck, the dream of David and Lucile.

A wonderful adventure that just started, thanks to a crowd funding on Ulule.

 

David comes from Antwerp, where he had been already getting some experience in a Mexican restaurant he opened along with his brother. To cut a long story short, he felt in love with the beautiful and wild Lucile during a surf trip in Biarritz, and in the same time his brother was offered an amazing job position in a restaurant in China.

Seemed that life was trying to propose a new start.

The cooking talent of David plus the knowledge of Lucile of her home country of Pays Basque gave birth to Pedro, the Nacho Libre food truck.

It’s all about freedom, EXCELLENT food, fresh products and… surf.

 

Food, Mexican Food, Lifestyle, Fresh

 

Of course, David and Lucile are both surfers !

This is what brought them to meet up, on the seaside.

 

You’d understood the mood of this wonderful and passionate couple; happiness, positivity and freedom. The products they propose are all about quality and freshness. It’s good vegetables with the right proportion of cheese and guacamole… It’s wrap and burrito… And many others delicious things.

 

Cooking, Food, Fresh Vegetables

 

I met David about 5 years ago during a trip in Antwerp when I’ve been lucky enough to eat in the restaurant he was working at the time. I had never tasted Mexican food and it was a delightful moment ! When I heard about the crowd funding, I was absolutely thrilled about it and really wanted to engage. I knew this fantastic project really needed to be realize and exist. Because those two guys really deserve it, but mainly because people deserve to enjoy this amazing food !

Again, if you’re around, you should definitely pass to greet them, be sure to say hello on my behalf as well ! Once you’ll be in front of Pedro, you won’t be able to resist…

Check their facebook page to know where they’ll stop today !

Nacho Libre, Mexican Food, Foodtruck

Perfumes, or poetry of the intangible

What’s more intangible than the poetry perfumes release ?

Perfumes, because they are linked with our sense of smell, the most uncontrollable and mysterious of all our senses, can be the source of intense emotions and extraordinary experiences. From the borders of sin to the frontier of the scared, perfumes stir up our desires and our passions, drawing us into unexplored regions of our emotions and the lost paradise of our memory.

The magic of perfume is that we think we possess them, but they constantly bring us new delight. We think we know them well, but they remain elusive. They are part of us and yet they escape us. They speak to us but we are unable to transcribe their imperceptible harmonies. Perfumes tell of childhood, distant lands, of ecstasy and of the secret rhythms of the world. Perfumes enable us to hear the deafening silence of love.

The Art of perfume is above all, a pleasure. Because odours possess that very rare power of capturing the precise essence of happiness, so difficult to define or formulate. The same is true for love…

An attraction to perfume is never neutral but rather expresses our deepest aspirations. To choose a perfume is to talk about oneself in veiled terms, but it is also to reveal one’s true character. Indeed, perfume is a garment which can develop us, but which sometimes, without knowing it, unmasks us.

They are encapsulated myths, that Emmanuel Ungaro beautifully definded as “at the same time masculine and feminine, fragile and tyrannical, steeped in contradictions.”

Perfume is synonymous of passion and patience…

Coco Chanel used to say that one should wear perfume when she or he’d like to be kissed.

Illustration, Flower, Drawing

“She left a short while ago

And yet remains near me

With her perfume still

Alive, still warm

From her body, so intoxicating”

Fourteenth-century Chinese poem

 

Bill Viola, Electronic Renaissance

 

Palazzo Strozzi foundations organizes in collaborations with Bill Viola Studio an electronic Renaissance in Florence.

The exhibition takes place from 10th of March until 23th of July 2017, and it’s been curated by Arturo Galansino and Kira Perov, who’s been his wife since 1979.

What a perfect location as Florence to organize a retrospective of Bill Viola; His Art was born here. Bill Viola is passionate about Renaissance and all the themes that come around it. The Vitruvian man is at the centre of his work and what he truly focuses on is all about humanity at its essence. Bill Viola represents primitive and archaic ideas through renewed motives and extremely modern ways. He is the founding father of this Art and proposed revolutionary ways to work and express himself at the time he begun is the 70’s.

He shows men and women transfigured by the forces of nature, as fire and water.

 

florence

He is actually fascinated by water and sees it as an element of purification.

He loves Mannerist painters as he sees them as the greatest colourist, which inspires him a lot.

The exhibition in Palazzo Strozzi wisely showcases the Greeting (1995), work of Bill Viola, next to the Visitazione (1528) of Pontormo, this allows a more complete understanding of the work as well as a great pleasure to be able to admire those two master pieces looking at each others. It’s very interesting to know that Bill Viola has never seen the painting of Pontarno in reality when he created the Greeting, but he will see it only 18 years after. In this precise work, he uses slow motion as a central tool so as to showcase our internal timing, deconstructing our deepest internal dynamics.

Bill Viola wants to show things in front of which we just have to surrender. Indeed, for him the limited character of our lives is precisely what gives sense to it:

Immortality and eternity are two sides of a same coin.

What interests this peculiar artist is to slow down the frenetic rhythm we impose to ourselves so as to refocus on humanity, all this through very modern means that he adapts and revisits constantly. We get confused and merged with all those characters he shows us and his work becomes a real introspection among the unlimited possibilities of our inner selves.